If the first two ODI matches of the series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka produced close matches, the third ODI was not even close, as Pakistan put up a professional performance at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo. The men in green thrashed the home team by 135 runs, in a match which was marred by crowd trouble.
After winning the toss, Pakistan opted to bat, with all their batsmen impressing with the willow in the first innings, as they scored 316 runs in the allotted 50 overs. Sarfraz Ahmed was the top scorer for Pakistan with 77 runs and Mohammad Hafeez, who has been banned for one year from bowling, was equally impressive in his breezy 54-run knock.
Sri Lanka might have been surprised with the way the Pakistan batsmen took on their premier fast bowler, Lasith Malinga, who gave away 80 runs from his 10 overs. Only Malinga and Sachith Pathirana took a wicket.
The onus fell on the Sri Lankan batsmen to chase down the mammoth total and all eyes were on Kusal Perera after his batting heroics in the second ODI, where he ripped apart the Pakistan bowlers, en route to the second fastest 50 in ODI cricket. But, Perera could not come up with a repeat performance as he fell to Anwar Ali for 20 runs.
After the wicket of the left hander, the target seemed even bigger, as the Pakistan opening bowlers were bowling beautifully and not giving much away. None of the bowlers went for more than six runs an over.
However, it was leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who came up trumps for Pakistan with the ball. The leggie has been climbing the charts of world cricket with his crafty bowling, and it was on full display in the third ODI, where he bamboozled the Sri Lankan batsmen.
He took four wickets in the game, but it was his outstanding control, which befuddled the batsmen. He finished with impressive economy of 2.90 runs per over in 10 his overs, along with one maiden.
None of the Sri Lankan batsmen stood up during the chase. Lahiru Thirimane was the highest scorer with 56 runs, which was not enough as wickets fell at regular intervals. Sri Lanka were dismissed for a paltry 181 runs in the 42nd over of the game.
With such a big victory, Pakistan will be a confident unit as they prepare for the fourth one-dayer on Wednesday. Victory in the fourth one-day international will help them clinch the series as well.